John Smith

Host, Reporter, Producer

Thanks for visiting my page.  My career has been quite the journey and it's a long road before I arrived to WAER.  As a kid, I was always intrigued by microphones, singers  and music.  My parents bought me a cheap tape recorder at 5 1/2 (if you can still relate) and I began telling stories and singing like I was Bobby Vinton.  I'm Polish, so I like Polkas too!  Anyhow, I'd play myself back and keep practicing.  I grew up with a severely handicapped brother, Shawn.  He caught Spinal Meningitis at three and a half weeks old and it left him with severe brain damage and he was permanently bedridden.  So, I had some downtime while my parents took care of him.  When I reached 11 years-old I also took up ventriloquism and entertained my bro.  It was all of the conversations I couldn't have with him.  Shawn couldn't speak, he could only make sounds and had a beautiful smile.  Eventually, I took my act to kids shows on WSTM Channel 3; The Saturday Showboat and the STM Club and continued performing on TV for most of my teenage years.  I also performed in the Dairy Products Building at the State Fair.  It was also during my early teens that I kept practicing making radio demo tapes in my room, complete with turntables and a mixer!  Finally, I won a Junior DJ contest to appear as a Co-Host on a local Morning Radio Show at 15 1/2 with Big Mike Fiss (now on Sunny 102) and I've been on-the-air ever since.  Radio became my new focus after I won the contest.  That is until less than a week later after I appeared on-the-air, WSYT-TV, Fox 68 in Syracuse called and offered me a job to voice promos for their fall kids contest.  I've been doing voice-overs ever since.  I continued to play the hits on two Top 40 stations, served as a Morning Show Host on a Rock Station, and an Afternoon Drive Personality on an Adult Contemporary Radio Station for which I also served as a Music Director.  I've had the opportunity to meet many celebrities and even introduced concert acts in front of thousands of people at the State Fair, Turning Stone Casino and Oswego's Harborfest.  What an adrenaline rush !  All that practicing really paid off !


Serving our WAER listeners as the Local Morning Edition Host and News Anchor has been an honor.  Especially, knowing Dick Clark was a member of this very station.  He was and still is a huge inspiration to me.  I enjoy covering the news of the community and also working with and training Broadcast Journalism Students from Syracuse University's Newhouse School.  It's been a very rewarding experience and has helped me to put into perspective of where I've come from and how much more I'd like to accomplish in life.  My reporting has earned me several Syracuse Press Club Awards that I'm grateful for.  Most recently, I won a First Place award for Best Radio Feature story for "Dick Clark got his start in Syracuse" on May 4, 20013.  Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that former WTVH-TV 5 Anchor Ron Curtis is also someone I've always admired.  A big shout out to my Mom and Dad for their love and support always; you are both truly amazing!  I'd also like to say thank you for all of great teachers and administrators in the Cicero-North Syracuse School District that have been supportive of me over the years where I also served as a Public Address Announcer !  Positive people make a difference in life and can inspire; I hope you hear that coming out your speakers when you listen to WAER ! 

Ways To Connect

Blue Cross Blue Sheild.

New York State lags behind the US when it comes to registered organ donors but, ranks as the third highest for patients in need. Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield says that only 48 percent of adults are registered nationwide and only half of that figure, or 22 percent are from New York State. However, Upstate New York has a higher number of registered donors at 32 percent. Meanwhile, BCBS Regional President Dr. Arthur Vercillo sees first hand as a surgeon the positive impacts an organ donor can have on life.

John Smith/WAER News

Syracuse and some nearby town residents of Dewitt, Manlius and Onondaga have the opportunity to grab some buying power for solar panel installations at their homes or businesses.  The new initiative 'Solarize Syracuse' is looking for 40 participants to get the panels installed now through September 30th. Jessica Azulay says a local company will handle the installations.

John Smith/WAER News

Republican John Sharon is shopping for voters and support in the 128th State Assembly District. He announced his intentions to run at his community based campaign headquarters located in the Valley Shopping Plaza in Syracuse. The private practice Lawyer also formerly worked 35 years for the Onondaga County Law Department where he rose to Senior Deputy County Attorney and handled litigation. Sharon says he’d like to be part of the solution to problems in the State.

John Smith/WAER News

Road Construction near Armory Square is affecting some businesses in different ways but, they remain optimistic of the future results for the Downtown Syracuse economy. Merchants and restaurants remain open and it doesn’t appear difficult to locate parking on the street or in a garage. Work on the expansion of the Connective Corridor has West Fayette Street down to a single, one-way lane near the Square but, the manager of the Marriot says it’s not interfering with customers booking rooms.

John Smith/WAER News

A dream that’s been in the making for a very long time came true for Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse today.  The hospital held the official ribbon cutting of the 74 Million Dollar Upstate Cancer Center to provide expanded care and treatment in a welcoming, state of the art building.

  

John Smith/WAER News

The Ronald McDonald House of Central New York is hoping the spirit of Christmas giving will help them drum up donations for their annual Christmas in July Campaign. The home opened the doors of its new location in December of 2012 in Syracuse. 

John Smith / WAER News

Most Central New Yorkers are probably keeping an eye on the price at the gas pumps as we head into the holiday weekend.  The Republican Candidate for the 24th Congressional District is partially blaming his opponent for not allowing prices to go down.  John Katko claims that Democratic Congressmember Dan Maffei voted against a bill last week that would have lowered the Federal gas tax.  

  He stood near a gas station on 7th North Street in Liverpool.

John Smith/WAER News

It’s been a long time since Saint Marianne Cope established St. Joseph’s Hospital and then left in 1888 as part of a request she answered in 1883 to care for ill Leprosy patients in Hawaii.  Her legacy will not be forgotten in Syracuse with a permanent shrine and museum in her honor.  The official blessing was held today at the hospital.  Sister Geraldine Ching is originally from Hawaii and assisted with gathering the historical journey of St. Marianne.

taking the tarp off a wooden parks sign
John Smith / WAER News

It’s been a long time coming, but Heath Park in Syracuse now has another entrance.  SUNY Environmental College of Science and Forestry has officially given two acres of land that borders a residential neighborhood to the city parks department.  

hand with a wristband stretched across it
John Smith / WAER News

A group of people in Onondaga County who work with older adults want to make sure they know how to protect themselves from scams and elder abuse.

Wednesday was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and Vera House estimates that 6,000 incidents in the County went unreported in 2013.

Vera House Spokesperson Jenny Hicks says Elder Abuse can take many different forms:

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